Greece has it all — amazing historic sites, stunning beaches and more than 6,000 lovely isles, including 200 that are inhabited. It’s also one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. In addition, Greece, which has been going through some tough economic times, is also one of the more affordable European destinations to visit.
If Greece is on your cruise ship’s itinerary, you probably have a number of famous attractions in mind, such as the Acropolis of Athens and Santorini’s dazzling white houses.
But if you want to enjoy an itinerary that is a step beyond that of your fellow travelers, you’ll also want to consider adding the following excursions, which include visits to some of Greece’s lesser known sites as well as some fun experiences.
Melissani and Drogarati Cave in Argostoli
If you’re traveling on a cruise line that stops in Argostoli, Kefalonia (Cephalonia), make sure to book an excursion to the Drogarati Cave and the subterranean Melissani Lake.
Your first stop on the excursion will be the well-lit Drogarati Cave, which boasts dramatic stalactites hanging from the ceilings and jagged stalagmites jutting from the ground. One of this cave’s most interesting features is a big natural chamber that boasts acoustics so perfect that concerts are sometimes held in it. From Drogarati Cave, your next stop will be Melissani Lake.
There, you’ll get to do something very few people will ever have the opportunity to do — go on a boat ride on an underground lake. One word of warning: this excursion involves walking on uneven and sometimes wet natural surfaces as well as on steps, so it may not be suitable for travelers with mobility issues.
Learning the Joy of Greek Cooking
What’s better than taking a short tour of Rhodes, including a stop to check out the Temple of Apollo and the ruins of an ancient stadium? How about a chance to learn to cook your own traditional Greek meal with the help of a local chef? It’s time for the Silversea Art of Greek Cuisine excursion.
Whether you’re a foodie or just someone who enjoys whipping together a nice meal, a Greek cooking lesson can be an awesome way to discover the fresh local ingredients available in Greece and the spices that give this cuisine its unique flavors.
Even better? Once you’re done creating your masterpiece, you’ll get a chance to dine on the meal you’ve just created. Plus, you’ll have a unique and interesting souvenir — a new dish that you can prepare for your friends and family when you return back home.
The Less Crowded Side of Santorini
A stroll among Santorini’s picturesque white houses with their bright blue accents is, of course, a must. But to really get a feel for this island, you’ll want to get away from the crowds and head out to the areas less traveled. And that is exactly what Viking Ocean’s Secret Wine Routes allows you to do.
On this excursion, you will visit three boutique wineries, Sigalas, Gavalas and Argyros in Exo Gonia, where you’ll get to taste Santorini’s unique wines — such as its famous Vinsanto sweet dessert wine. While exploring the wineries, make sure to keep an eye out for the island’s unique basket-shaped grapevines. To protect the grapes from Santorini’s strong sun and fierce winds, the vines are trained to grow in a coiled, low-to-the-ground shape. And if you fall in love with a wine, no worries. Viking allows guests to bring wine back onto the ship and drink it onboard.
Explore Corfu on a Bike
Ahh, yes, with their all-you-can-eat buffets and sumptuous dinners, cruises can be a tad hard on your waistline. That is why a mountain bike excursion, such as the one offered by Holland America, may be just what you will need when you stop in Corfu.
Traveling on a bicycle is also an excellent way to really experience a destination. You’ll get to see its sights up close and take in the scents and sounds that you surely would have missed if you were traveling within the muffled confines of a vehicle.
On this excursion, a guide will show you the way, as you pedal through several picturesque and charming villages, including San Marcos, Kato Korakiana and the historic settlement of Ano Korakiana.
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